Nick McWilliams reporting – A tradition that began in the 19th century will take place on Saturday at the New Philadelphia Fire Department.

The station is inviting residents to help push their newest fire engine into the garage bay at 4 p.m. on Saturday.

Although the event might sound unusual, it’s a tradition rooted into the earliest days of firefighting in the United States, according to Safety Director Greg Popham.

“It’s a tradition that basically started back in the 1800’s, and the way it all started was the fire wagons back then were pulled by horses. And the horses couldn’t back up to back the wagon in. So they would disconnect it, and push the fire wagon into the fire house.”

Popham says that many other communities have participated in the practice for years, but it has not been featured in New Phila.

Concessions and free popcorn will be available, and all residents who attend will be invited to see the fleet of fire safety vehicles in New Phila.

The new fire engine cost $692,000, and is expected to be used for at least two decades, and features fully upgraded equipment and gear.

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